Trespass to Property America Online, Inc. (AOL), provides services to its customers or members, including the transmission of e-mail to and from other members and across the Internet. To become a member, a person must agree not to use AOL’s computers to send bulk, unsolicited, commercial e-mail (spam). AOL uses filters to block spam, but bulk e-mailers sometimes use other software to thwart the filters. National Health Care Discount, Inc. (NHCD), sells discount optical and dental service plans. To generate leads for NHCD’s products, sales representatives, who included AOL members, sent more than 300 million pieces of spam through AOL’s computer system. Each item cost AOL an estimated $0.00078 in equipment expenses. Some of the spam used false headers and other methods to hide the source. After receiving more than 150,000 complaints from its members, AOL asked NHCD to stop. When the spam continued, AOL fi led a suit in a federal district court against NHCD, alleging, in part, trespass to chattels—an unlawful interference with another’s rights to possess personal property. AOL asked the court for a summary judgment on this claim. Did the spamming constitute trespass to chattels? Explain. [America Online, Inc. v. National Health Care Discount, Inc., 121 F.Supp.2d 1255 (N.D. Iowa 2000)]

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